Mar 29, 2011 5:30pm PDT
. at the same time, u.s. and coalition partners kept up the military attacks, launching 22 cruise missile on targets in tripoli. qaddafi's forces, however, are still better armed than the opposition and today they have the rebels on the run. they were forced to retreat just as they prepared to attack qaddafi's hometown of surt. instead, though, they were pushed back more than 25 miles, and not just by the military but by civilians who remain loyal to qaddafi. mandy clark reports tonight from the ever-shifting front line. >> reporter: an attack by qaddafi forces took rebels by surprise at bin jawad. they fought hard with everything they had but were forced back. and even while fleeing came under fire. they had originally retreated to the town because of a new threat rebels here say it wasn't just government forces but also residents firing from their homes that forced them to pull back. they confiscated these weapons handed out by qaddafi forces from locals who were loyal to the regime. how many weapons did you find in total? >> reporter: another problem the anti-qaddafi forces are facing:
Mar 30, 2011 6:30pm EDT
a fierce debate-- should the u.s. arm the opposition? i'm erica hill. also tonight, kicking the habit. the president wants to cut oil imports by a third, and some drivers have already gotten the message. hyperactive kids-- why some experts believe artificial food coloring could make the behavior worse. >> mr. president! >> and a bullet meant for president reagan nearly took this man's life. 30 years later james brady is still fighting for gun control. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> hill: good evening. katie is off tonight. just two days ago, libyan rebels seemed ready to move on muammar qaddafi's home town and possibly on tripoli, but tonight, they are on the move in the other direction. their weapons, machine guns for the most part are, no march for qaddafi's heavier weaponry. secretary of state hillary clinton said today no decision has been made about whether to arm the rebels, but there are also reports president obama recently signed a secret order authorizing covert support for them.
Mar 30, 2011 7:00pm EDT
and the front was moving quickly to the west. now the rebels seem to be in full-scale retreat and are telling us not to go any further because qaddafi forces are approaching once more. rebels are starting to show their combat fatigue, outgunned and regularly outflanged in the field, they lack any sort of military strategy or leadership. >> this is not my profession but what can we do now? we must do anything to push this hell and nobody helps us. >> reporter: they desperately need command and control if they hope to make any battlefield gains. they are eager to take ground but are quick to flee when they face any real fight. one simple problem here is communication. networks are down, satellite phones are rare, and there's not a two-way radio in sight. it's difficult to know how the ribbles are communicating. erica. >> hill: mandy clark, mandy, thanks. and with the rebels steadily losing ground, the debate over arming them grows louder, but as david martin reports, the obama administration has good reason to tread carefully on that iss issue. >> reporter: the rebels' sudden reverses have reveale